As we have swung into August, it comes to mind that we are well over halfway through 2016. I am not sure how that happened, but somehow the math is correct.
Prior to the birth of my daughter, I had little way to mark time, as the seasons do not vary widely enough here in Singapore to provide a proper demarcation. Husband and I often ask each other questions like “when was it that we bought the motorcycle?” “do you remember when we last had a gardener out?” Cues such as what we were wearing (i.e. winter or summer clothes) or the falling of the leaves for fall are often absent. Christmas is noted not by winter’s snow and ice but by the Christmas music being played at Cold Storage during the daily shop. (Trust me, you can’t miss children singing Deck the Halls in Mandarin on repeat for 3 months.)
But now I seem to have the opposite problem, my time is all too well marked. Each month is a daunting reminder of time passing as she grows at the rate of a weed with a new skill set practically each day to match.
Eight months ago, on New Years Eve, we left the child with the nanny to go for a few adult beverages with friends at a nearby bar restaurant that also had a DJ and a countdown. After a few months in “home mode,” I was surprised at how familiar being out among adults and drinks felt. I had somehow wrongly expected it to seem foreign.
On the way to celebrate, the topic of new years resolutions came up. One friend suggested that instead of resolutions, we come up with a word of the year. This was half in jest, as his cousin had posted her word of the year on Facebook, and he struggled to understand the concept.
So we all picked our word. My husband choosing the word “fatherhood,” as I threw out the word “unapologetic.” Everyone laughed. It didn’t sound very nice, I admit. And of course I’m known at times to be blunt, opinionated and stubborn.
But are these such bad traits? We live in a world that tells us ladies to “be nice” and everywhere we look there are conscious and subconscious cues telling us to behave, to not get out of line. Out of what line? The one that pays us women 75 cents to the dollar and offers them little choice in the workforce once they become mothers? The one that sentences a rapist to a mere 6 months of jail time as not to disrupt his life? The one that walks into a gay club and kills 50 people? This is not the world I want for myself, for my daughter, for your daughters.
My choices may be unconventional, but they are not wrong or ill informed and I will not apologize for them.
Let’s be honest – the metaphorical “they” wouldn’t be happy with our choices, in any form. We are told to “be ourselves” and then given a whole list of reasons on why that’s not good enough. Too fat, too focused on appearance, too driven, too lazy, too assertive, too shy, too materially focused, not financially savvy.
Life is a work in progress and my heart is free. I was reminded of this as I ran across this quote on the internet –